Fish oil helps athletes breathe easy

If you suffer from exercise-induced asthma, the answer to your labored breathing may be as close as the supplement aisle at your local natural products store. According to a new study performed at Indiana University, taking fish-oil capsules daily decreased the severity of asthmalike symptoms—including wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, and breathlessness—by 80 percent in participating athletes who had experienced this type of asthma before (American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2003, vol. 168, no. 10). The symptoms of exercise-induced asthma occur during or after exercise. Timothy Mickleborough, PhD, who performed the study, estimates that some 3 percent to 10 percent of Americans suffer from exercise-induced broncho-constriction (EIB) without having chronic asthma. Athletes who successfully decreased their EIB symptoms during the study took about 5.4 grams of fish oil per day.

—Christine Spehar